The Hague, January 12, 2024 – South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, commended the efforts of the country’s legal team for their representation at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the case against Israel following the Gaza clashes. The presentation at The Hague has been hailed as a potential historic moment.
Ramaphosa, speaking from the ANC Women’s League Umanyano event in Mbombela, Mpumalanga, expressed his profound pride in the legal team’s arguments. He particularly highlighted the presence of Ronald Lamola, stating, “I have never felt as proud as I felt today when our legal team was arguing our case in the Hague, and I never felt as proud when I see Ronald Lamola, the son of this province [Mpumalanga] standing there in that court introducing our case.”
The president also noted the emotional response from Palestinians present at the ICJ proceedings. “I am told that the Palestinians who were there, many of them cried because they have a sense that South Africa is probably the only country that is standing by them through these trials and tribulations,” he added.
The legal team’s presentation comes in the wake of the devastating attacks on innocent civilians in Palestine and Gaza. Justice Minister Ronald Lamola emphasized South Africa’s intent in bringing Israel before the ICJ to address the longstanding suffering of Palestinians. Lamola stated, “The violence and the destruction in Palestine and Israel did not begin on the 07th of October 2023. The Palestinians have experienced systemic oppression and violence for the last 76 years. On the Gaza Strip, at least since 2004, Israel continues to exercise control over the airspace, territorial waters, land crossings, water, electricity, and civilian infrastructure.”
In light of the historical context provided by Lamola, questions arise about the broader implications of this case. How does the legal team plan to navigate the complex history of the region in their argument? What diplomatic steps are being taken simultaneously to address the root causes of the conflict?
It is evident that South Africa’s involvement is deeply rooted in its historical commitment to the principles of justice and freedom, as emphasized by Ramaphosa. The president pointed out that Nelson Mandela’s legacy set the tone for South Africa’s support for Palestinian freedom, stating, “Our freedom will never be complete until the freedom of Palestinians is also attained; we felt duty-bound to launch the court case.”
As the ICJ proceedings unfold, the eyes of the international community are on the legal team, watching how they navigate the complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in their pursuit of justice.
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